Kentucky Mother Admits Accidentally Exposing Baby to Heroin, Causing Overdose

Kentucky Mother Admits Accidentally Exposing Baby to Heroin, Causing Overdose
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A Ken­tucky moth­er made a heart­break­ing admis­sion to police regard­ing her eight-month-old daugh­ter’s near-fatal over­dose. Bri­anne Ehlinger of Burling­ton told inves­ti­ga­tors she had relapsed on hero­in after two years of sobri­ety. In a moment of care­less­ness, she exposed her baby to the dead­ly drug.


The inci­dent occurred in Novem­ber 2023 when emer­gency ser­vices were called to the fam­i­ly’s home. The infant had gone into res­pi­ra­to­ry dis­tress. Dur­ing the inves­ti­ga­tion, it was dis­cov­ered the child had over­dosed on hero­in. Both Ehlinger and the father, Shawn Gard­ner, were sub­se­quent­ly arrested.


In released audio of Ehlinger’s con­fes­sion, she tear­ful­ly explains what hap­pened. She told the detec­tive that after using hero­in, she played with her chil­dren with­out wash­ing her hands first. When the baby fussed, Ehlinger looked in her mouth with her fin­ger, unaware it still had hero­in residue. Traces were ingest­ed, caus­ing the overdose.


Thank­ful­ly emer­gency respon­ders were able to revive the infant with Nar­can. But the child still spent sev­er­al days in the hos­pi­tal under care­ful obser­va­tion. Ehlinger detailed her long strug­gle with addic­tion since age 18. She expressed deep regret, know­ing it nev­er should have put her baby at risk.


Both Ehlinger and Gard­ner now face charges of wan­ton endan­ger­ment and child endan­ger­ment. Ehlinger plead­ed guilty in May and awaits sen­tenc­ing, which could result in 1–5 years in prison. Gard­ner will also appear in court to face sim­i­lar charges. The infant is cur­rent­ly in state cus­tody fol­low­ing the trau­mat­ic incident.

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